Today I enjoyed the company of two old friends from my children’s ministry days. Tommy dropped by in the afternoon, and I was thrilled to see him. We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years or more. Tommy was one of the original children’s worship and summer camp leaders with me back in the early 2000’s. His energy, sheer child-like joy, and over-the-top personality made him perfect for our children’s ministry back then. We talked and laughed about those fun, wacky ministry years, and caught up with each other and our families. His surprise visit made my day.
Then this evening, I contacted another long-time friend, Jeff, and met he and his wife Cindy at the church they were now members of. Jeff had been another one of the original camp and worship leaders with me in those early years, joining the team not long after Tommy had. Jeff’s incredible creativity, infectious smile, and amazing skills at, well, just about anything, made him invaluable to our developing ministry. We’ve kept in touch over the past two years, but it’s been tough to find time to just hang out together. It did my heart good, just seeing and worshiping with him and Cindy at their new church home.
Tommy, Jeff and I spent many years doing ministry together, and were often called “The Three Musketeers” of the children’s ministry (probably more like “The Three Stooges”). We became more than co-laborers in ministry. These guys were among my dearest friends. We met regularly over meals, shared Bible study and prayer together, grew spiritually together, supported each other through times of adversity, and just enjoyed hanging out with each other as friends and brothers in Christ. I cherish the memories and ministry years we shared as a band of brothers.
Tommy and his family have been members of 12Stone Church for a few years now, and he is a leader there in the children’s worship program, not surprisingly. Jeff and his family have found a new home at Ebenezer Baptist, where I joined them this evening for worship. Both are doing well, pursuing new opportunities, and still serving Christ and His church, as am I. Our children are all nearly grown and gone, we don’t get to see each other regularly like the “old days”, and God has led us each in different directions. But I still love these guys like family, and feel a little reflective this evening. Time marches on, and life changes. But I’m thankful that, in Christ, even if years and miles and circumstances separate close friends, we will always have that “tie that binds”, that relationship bound together by God. That will never change.